Monday, July 27, 2015

New Hansen discussion paper is online

Sou | 5:12 AM Go to the first of 169 comments. Add a comment
In case you missed it, there's a new paper by James Hansen and lots of other people which is generating quite a bit of interest. It's not been reviewed - it's in the "for discussion" category at EGU's inter-active open access journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. That is, it's not had the final peer review. (See comment from Xavier Onassis below.) That's an interesting model for scientific publication in itself. There are not many journals that do this.

I haven't read the paper yet, and even if I had, the paper is quite long at 32 pages not including references and figures (61 pages in total). My articles are long enough as it is. Plus I'd like to wait and see what comments it attracts in the journal itself. Maybe over time I'll write about some aspects of it as shorter articles, rather than attempting to give a view of the whole. From what I've heard, it's a paper that will challenge people - scientists and policy makers and the general public, with lots of food for thought.

However don't let me stop you from commenting. It hasn't stopped Anthony Watts from posting lots and lots and lots of photos of New York and writing stuff like "it's not under water yet so it never will be - so there". (Anthony is a sea level rise denier from way back. It's a pet denial of his.)

Chris Mooney wrote something about the paper, if you want an introduction. He's got some reaction from a few scientists.

Update: here's Jim Hansen himself:

I snagged the video from Peter Sinclair at ClimateCrocks, which has a transcript too. He's a couple of other videos here and here, which are about Hilary Clinton's strong renewable targets, just announced.
Added by Sou 27 July 2015


Hansen, J., Sato, M., Hearty, P., Ruedy, R., Kelley, M., Masson-Delmotte, V., Russell, G., Tselioudis, G., Cao, J., Rignot, E., Velicogna, I., Kandiano, E., von Schuckmann, K., Kharecha, P., Legrande, A. N., Bauer, M., and Lo, K.-W.: Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is highly dangerous, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 15, 20059-20179, doi:10.5194/acpd-15-20059-2015, 2015.


  1. "It hasn't stopped Anthony Watts from posting lots and lots and lots of photos of New York and writing stuff like "it's not under water yet so it never will be - so there". "

    The Hansen prediction was for around 2028 so if Anthony can falsify it he's using his time machine again. But in this case Anthony is not only using his time machine to go forwards in time, he's going to have to use it to go backwards in time and (presumably using his godlike powers of super-denialo-event-erasure) remove floods that have already occurred from the historical record. Because:

    "Historically, some communities throughout New York City have been prone to flooding. Sections of Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx and Brooklyn, for instance, have periodically faced this problem. In recent years, however, flooding has occurred more frequently than in the past, affecting a broader range of communities than ever."


    And, of course, those of us who are not denier-amnesiacs can remember the Hurricane Sandy floods.


    1. It's actually farther in the future than that. The scenario was "40 years with doubled CO2." Admittedly that's a little ambiguous--does it mean 40 years after a doubling, or does it mean imagine that CO2 has already doubled, what does it look like 40 years from now?

      Either way, the prediction for real-life flooding is still far in the future--farther than 2028, which doesn't include the doubling. A doubling obviously has not yet occurred, and won't occur for another 75 years or so at the current rate.

      Furthermore, Hansen never said that Manhattan would be underwater. He referred to the West Side Highway, not the whole borough. The WSH is only a few feet above sea level in some places.

  2. I didn't read Tony's piece too closely but I did not see where he comprehends the work "non-linear".

    I am not at all surprised at the suggestion of a non-linear trend in melting of the Greenland ice sheet,at least. And if it happens there it seems obvious that the same can happen in the Antarctic. I have assumed we have a non-linear (and accelerating ) melting trend for years just from general reading and a few media reports. Even to a layman like me, it was obvious within a year or so of the report that the IPCC estimates were far too conservative.

    Personally, I am liquidating (oops, sorry) my Florida landholdings and shutting down the Bangladeshi sweatshops. I'm thinking of relocating the latter to Tibet or Bhutan as soon as we get some decent deep-water ports established.

    I probably would not really understand the overall paper but where is it anyway? I get as far as the abstract and I cannot find the paper. What blinding obvious thing am I missing. I found the supplemental materials but no paper.

    1. You've got to click on the link to the pdf icon on the right hand side, below the word "supplement". It took me a while to figure it out too. After you've opened the pdf you can also download a "printable" version that has more text / page, so has fewer pages. (That is, from within the pdf)

    2. " didn't read Tony's piece too closely but I did not see where he comprehends the work "non-linear". "

      That would require undertanding of algebra, and since Tony doesn't understand that changing a baseline doesn't change computed trends, one can't be too hopeful he'd understand this ...

    3. Thanks Sou. I poked around and totally missed it.

      @ ghogaza

      But, but base lines are difficult.

  3. one tiny quibble...the idea that Hansen's paper 'not been reviewed' is not entirely accurate. all papers submitted to ACP (and other open access EGU journals) are first sent out to a group of knowledgeable reviewers who are asked to determine whether the paper is qualified to be published in the open discussion. (the journal editor can, of course, reject a paper immediately, without sending on to external reviewers.) papers that fail to pass this initial review are summarily rejected. those that do pass are assigned to another group of 'knowledgeable reviewers/referees' and posted in a public discussion section where both the official referees and other interested parties can comment. after the open discussion period has expired, authors are expected to address all comments; i.e., both those from the official reviewers and those from 'other interested parties'. thereafter, the editor mediates any future exchanges between the authors and the reviewers. needless to say, these exchanges can be extensive.

    I don't think I've seriously misrepresented any of the steps involved. but just in case, the official rules of the road are published on the ACP website; see http://www.atmospheric-chemistry-and-physics.net/peer_review/interactive_review_process.html

    Xavier Onassis

    1. Thanks for clarifying that Xavier.

    2. Thanks for writing that explanation. I looked through a bunch of papers in review and was disappointed by the number of comments. any are at zero, but you have explained one possible reason why.

    3. There are a few comments. This from Prof David Archer, U Chicago is worth a read.

    4. Happy Birthday!

      Watts et al 2012 is 3 years old!


  4. Sou with your permission here's Mosher having a sensible day on WUWT.

    “At 11 inches per century, there’s a real problem with Hansen’s claim of sea level rise covering the Westside Highway. He’s betting on acceleration of sea level rise due to increased CO2, but the trend is clearly linear, not exponential.”

    There is no trend IN THE DATA.

    remember your briggs.

    Data have no trends, The data is just the data.

    you MANUFACTURE trends by ASSUMING a data generating process. you create trends by “applying”
    a model to the data and asking the question ‘does this model fit the data” is this model consistent with the data.

    In a nutshell Hansen is arguing this. he is arguing that the data generating process— THE PHYSICS– underlying sea level rise is NOT linear, but rather is non linear.

    of course if you look at any exponential rise you can pick out a segment that looks linear, but hansens argument is that the underlying process is non linear and consequently we will see rapid increases
    in the future.

    You cant argue against this by showing the linear segments. You have to go deeper.

    Put another way. the fact that you can fit a linear model to past data tells you ZERO about the future.

    you need more argument than that.

    all that said.. I dont buy Hansen’s work but it does focus research.

    1. I should point out the The first paragraph in inverted comers belongs to Watts.

    2. That's a pretty good comment. It always surprises me when I see something like that at WUWT.

    3. Mark, what isn't surprising is the hostility which invariably greets such high quality comments.Mosher is now subjected to the sort of howls that Nick Stokes has had to put up with from Anthony's acolytes for a very long time.

  5. I scanned the manuscript, dense but understandable. A provocative piece of work - it will elicit a lot of serious discussion and following-on science. That (not WUWT's banter) will be interesting. I for one (who owns property 8 feet above sea level in Paradise) will taking Hansen's model forecasts seriously as I consider whether to leave it as legacy or sell it to a "ditto head" now and invest in something more secure for my descendants. If Hansen's conjecture is to be believed, that might be a bunker somewhere in rural America.

    1. I'll sell you an old mansion in the midwest. 20 acres of woodlands surround it. Lol. Not only will SL never happen there, nothing else does either.

    2. The term "sunk capital" will be taking on a whole new meaning.

      At 10m elevation (says GoogleEarth) and a mile or so from the sea I'm depending on the district in-between to take the sting out of storm-surges; formerly known as East Moors, developers have re-named it Ocean Park, which may turn out to be all too apt.

  6. David Archer has made a referee comment.

    1. Andrew Revkin of the NY Times has also submitted a comment. He cites two papers that he says rebut the Hansen paper, but the one I've read actually reaches the same conclusion as Hansen vis a vis, did a tsunami create the 'chevrons' off the Bahamas.

      Hansen et al say:" A tsunami conceivably deposited the boulders, but the area is not near a tectonic plate boundary. The coincidence of a tsunami at the end-Eemian moment is improbable given the absence of evidence of tsunamis at other times in the Bahamas and the lack of evidence of tsunamis on the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the United States. The proximity of run-up deposits and nested chevron ridges across a broad front of Bahamian islands is clear evidence of a sustained series of high-energy wave events."

      Meanwhile Revkin cites Bourgeois and Weiss, 2009, “Chevrons” are not mega-tsunami deposits—A sedimentologic Assessment.

      Umm, pretty easy to see this supports Hansen et al just from the title.

      I can't find a non-paywalled copy of the other paper - “Late Quaternary sea-level position: Evidence from Bahamian carbonate deposition
      and dissolution cycles,” Quaternary International, May 2008, John E. Mylroie, Mississippi State University (DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2007.06.030

      It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find this paper doesn't directly address the issues Revkin claims it does - or that it too actually supports Hansen :)

    2. Revkin really does appear to be in full denialist mode, doesn't he?

    3. Dhogaza, I was slightly bemused by Revkin's persistence along the road he's chosen for himself. He's really on the wrong side of the branch with Curry and others, as they all pitch in to saw it from the tree.

    4. Actually, Revkin's comment is limited to only section 2.2 of the paper, in which Hansen et al. present their claims about evidence for "storminess" during the last interglacial. And I think Revkin (or the person who he cites) has a point. This section relies very, very heavily on a bunch of papers by one investigator (Hearty) much of which was done 15-20 years ago. The Mylroie 2008 paper does seem to raise good questions about whether the boulders on Eleuthera have been dated and interpreted correctly by Hearty.

      David Archer gently suggests that the manuscript is too long and covers too many topics, and specifically suggests that the "storminess" material could be extracted and published separately. I think that would be a good idea, because section 2.2 seems pretty weak in this version. Putting it in a separate manuscript would force Hansen et al. to do a better job of justifying their claims, which might be a pain but is ultimately a good thing if it ends up strengthening their argument.

    5. +1 on the boulders Ned. That was my thought when I first read the document.

      I still think though that Revkin's angle distorts the overall significance of the manuscript.

  7. I've added a video with Jim Hansen to the above article, and links to it and a couple of other noteworthy articles by Peter Sinclair at Climate Crocks.

    1. In the video, Hansen says "we can't let it [WAIS] go unstable." Does that mean that he thinks that there is actually something we can do to change the melting scenario? That we are not irrevocably committed to the WAIS collapse? How drastically would we have to cut CO2 emissions to do this?

    2. Following up: here's what Hansen says in the Huffinton Post article cited by Mikeh below. He's more optimistic than I am.

      "Despite the increased threat of sea level rise, I believe that it is still possible to keep impacts of human-made climate change moderate. However, that optimism is based on the assumption that we are close to the point when it is widely recognized that a policy with an across-the-board rising carbon fee that rapidly phases down carbon emissions also makes good economic sense."

  8. James Hansen has an article explaining the paper in the Huffington Post

    This paper in Science is probably worth having a look at

    described here along with Hansen's coauthor Eric Rignot's criticisms of their ice sheet model.

    and an article from Rignot

    1. Thanks Mike. I took note of the calibre of authors of the new Hansen paper. It means that the paper can't be dismissed as easily as many people would like. (Jim Hansen himself has been right a lot more often than he's been wrong.)

      I've written a few articles about Eric Rignot's work - WAIS is a real danger. I know less about Greenland, but have been following people like Jason Box, who is far from complacent.

      IMO the reaction to the paper will tell probably tell us as much about human psychology as it tells us about the science itself. I hope it spurs greater support for more science so we have more information to make the important decisions that will need to be made. We can't afford to shoot the messengers.

    2. I hope there are some detailed responses from the other glaciologists.

      It certainly beats having yet another discussion on the faux-pause and may provide some additional insight into just how reliable the IPCC's current SLR predictions are.

    3. So far Mottram and Pfeffer are very dubious...

    4. Rignot's skill in communicating complexities is up there with Hayhoe's. We need to see and hear more from him.

  9. Well Watts should be proud. Providing a DIRECT (dog whistle) link to the paper's comments page has resulted in the 1st Denier comment ...

    "Again, the work presented in this paper is based on a climate computer model that has incorrect physics. The energy balance of these climate models is based on the radiative forcing approach of the so called greenhouse gas effect. This effect is a fiction and the radiative approach violates the laws of thermodynamics. Colder atmospheric air "slabs" cannot radiate energy to warmer air "slabs" or surface.

    Nabil Swedan"

    1. I expect there will be more, Everett. The contrast between denier comments and the review by David Archer could hardly be more stark.

      David Archer describes James Hansen as a " creative and intellectual volcano" and the paper as a "masterwork of scholarly synthesis, modeling virtuosity, and insight, with profound implications". He does have some criticisms of specific sections - but overall if you read David Archer's review you'd be itching to read the paper in full.

      I see that some denier who has Judith Curry as a patron, Rud Istvan, is using it to try to sell copies of his self-published "essay", with the usual denier fallback argument: "scientists don't know nuffin'".

    2. Isvtan is accusing O'Leary et al of "academic misconduct". What a clown.


    3. Why stop with denying the greenhouse effect when you can completely overturn thermodynamics and radiative heat transfer. I assume I was brainwashed by commie scientists when I studied chemical engineering.

      Of course "colder air" radiates energy. All matter radiates energy unless it's at absolute zero. Nabil Swedan seems to think that the air "knows" not to radiate energy to warmer areas, just colder ones.

    4. It will be interesting to see how the handling editor responds to Isvtan and Swedan. The default is to ignore them while telling the authors that they do not have to respond. Slightly better would be to publicly announce this on the discussion page. Still better would be for the handling editor to take the clowns to school publicly.

    5. MWS

      I am a chemical engineer like you with over 30 years of professional work experience. Greenhouse gas effect and radiative forcing do not exist in engineering. Yes, the colder air does not radiate to the warmer surface based on observations. Just ask infrared astronomers, they will tell you that backradiation from the atmosphere to the surface simply does not exist. Theory is one thing but fact is another, we go by facts.

      Further, proponents of the greenhouse gas effect and radiative forcing claim that at midnight and every night, we have a strong laser of infrared radiation (backradiation) from the atmosphere to surface having intensity of over 300 watts per square meter. In addition, this laser is self producing and does not require energy to produce. Do you buy this claim?

    6. Nabil Swedan.

      Unusual to have someone deny the greenhouse effect these days.

      "Yes, the colder air does not radiate to the warmer surface based on observations"

      Yes it does. Any substance with a temperature above absolute zero radiates heat. I think you are referring to the net flux.

      "Just ask infrared astronomers, they will tell you that backradiation from the atmosphere to the surface simply does not exist."

      I think infrared astronomers would disagree with you.

      "Further, proponents of the greenhouse gas effect and radiative forcing claim that at midnight and every night, we have a strong laser of infrared radiation (backradiation) from the atmosphere to surface having intensity of over 300 watts per square meter."

      What on earth are you talking about. Laser? Who ever said anything about a laser effect?

      "intensity of over 300 watts per square meter."

      I don't know the exact figure, but I think 300 watts is more or less correct. It can be measured by just pointing an infrared thermometer at the sky at night.

      I have a question for you. Why is the surface of the earth as warm as it is? The effective temperature of the earth is around -18C...

    7. There's a nice little paper I found through Google that calculates the downwelling radiation in W/m-2 for clear and cloudy nights. I don't vouch for it but it's probably about right,


      Laser = Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. It's dark at night, so any laser can be seen clearly. I've not noticed lasers at midnight, except during some light shows in the city - or on a stage:


      One of these days I'll do a primer on the greenhouse effect for the benefit of the small number of engineers who don't understand science, or others who are greenhouse effect deniers :)

    8. "Just ask infrared astronomers, they will tell you that backradiation from the atmosphere to the surface simply does not exist."

      Citation needed!

      In the meantime:
      (what's that? They measure downwelling radiation?!?!?!?)

      Heck, even *tallbloke* accepts there is such a thing as downwelling radiation:

    9. I wonder if Nabil Swedan "believes" that the surface radiates energy upwards? And I wonder if Nabil "believes" that the atmosphere doesn't radiate energy upwards (or sideways), or if it's only the downward direction that he doesn't "believe" in.

    10. If there were no greenhouse gases in Earth atmosphere then at equilibrium with the Sun the surface and lower atmosphere would have the same temperature due to blackbody radiation. This is the only mechanism for attaining equilibrium. This temperature by the way is below the freezing point of water so that there would be no water vapour in the atmosphere and Earths average temperature would cause it to be a snowball.

      Greenhouse gases absorb discrete IR wavelengths coming from the surface and re emit them randomly in all directions. If you consider a horizontal slice of atmosphere the absorbed IR in that layer is emitted 50% up and 50% down. In simple terms 50% of absorbed IR due to greenhouse gases are effectively 'reflected' back down.

      The absolute temperature of the greenhouse gases has got nothing to do with this absorption and re-emission.

      So all waffly talk of cold layers not radiating IR down to a hotter surface is the drivel that an ignorant denier would grasp without understanding what is really going on. Thus ends the lesson. Bert

    11. Nabil Swedan is getting confused with spontaneous emission and stimulated emission.

      In order for lasing to occur in a CO2 laser there needs to be a population inversion of high energy state vs low. A CO2 laser is pumped to maintain this population inversion and then if you set it up correctly you will get stimulated emission and thus lasing. A CO2 laser will cut thick steel! Einstein dealt with this early last century.

      Greenhouse gases are molecules that have vibrational states due to their asymmetry. The absorption and emission of photons are due to quantum mechanical effects. Bert

    12. Andrew Dessler just tweeted this, fortuitously. It's a youtube video explaining the greenhouse effect.


    13. Apparently I stayed awake during heat transfer lectures ... specifically those concerned with radiative heat transfer.

    14. This paper goes into the Physics and Mathematics of the temperature of spherical rocky bodies i.e. planets. It also rigorously deals with the green house effect.

      On the average temperature of airless spherical bodies and the magnitude of Earth’s atmospheric thermal effect


      I do not claim to comprehend it all, yet. It will take me quite a while to get up to the speed I had when I was far younger and far less wise.

      It would take a bit more than hand waving arguments while mumbling the second law of thermodynamics to deal with this detailed derivation. Bert

  10. For those following the attempt to foist Lomborg on South Australia - did Pyne imagine some sort of homeground advantage, I wonder? He's a strange man... - here's the latest:

    Graun: Lomborg's $4m Centre rejected by Flinders University academics

    (Yes, we had the UWA thing a month or so back. This was the second attempt.)

    1. I expect that there will be some griping from conservatives about the preponderance of commie leftists in academia.

    2. Those supposedly venal scientists who - according to WUWT - are only in it for the money seem curiously untempted by the $4million a year.

    3. Well, $4m is chickenfeed when compared to the money to be made riding the Warmist Gravy Train! Barely worth filling in the application... ;-)

  11. Everett,
    I bit and posted up a rebuttal to Swedan.

    1. And he straightened you out in his reply...he is obviously one brilliant physicist! Bodies can selectively radiate dontcha know.

  12. Hot Whopper just got mentioned on the SkS facebook page wrt WUWT!

    Prepare yourself... :-)

  13. JCH is having a field day over at CE. It's hilarious. Right now the main argument can be reduced to
    Hansen 15 is rubbish because Saul Alinsky.

    1. PG - I can't have field days. I'm not very smart. Jim D has field days.

  14. Peer-review does not guarantee the correctness of a paper; it only finds the paper as worth publication for the review and scrutiny of the public. Two referees can be wrong, ten scientists can be wrong, and few experiments can be wrong as well. Only time and scrutiny of the public can be the ultimate judge.

    Infrared astronomy is based on detecting minute infrared radiation from the cosmos. In the presence of 300 watts per square meter of infrared backradiation from the atmosphere at night, infrared astronomy can never exist. Either infrared astronomy is fiction or backradiation is fiction. The answer is clear: Backradiation must be fiction.

    Most of the world does not recognize the greenhouse gas effect or radiative forcing. Proponents of the greenhouse gas effect are indeed a minority with loud microphones. Time is not on their side; voice alone will not help. Answers to pressing climate issues are needed immediately and the hypothesis of greenhouse gas effect and radiative forcing has delivered nothing but controversies.

    Science as far as I believe is the only democracy across the borders. Anything can be explained and calculated without the greenhouse gas effect. Please give this democracy a chance and read something else other than these theories that violate the laws of nature; they are a waste of time and money.

    1. You're really fixed on this, aren't you? Perhaps you should look at what the atmosphere actually emits, such as shown at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_window, where the clear IR window between 8 and 14 microns, as used for surface based IR astronomy, can be seen.

      in the meantime, your assertions regarding the greenhouse effect continue to be nonsense. Backradiation exists and can be measured - if it didn't exist and mostly balance heat loss from the surface of the earth, the surface of the earth would lose energy and cool with a flux of almost 400 W/m^2!

    2. "Most of the world does not recognize the greenhouse gas effect or radiative forcing."

      Bull. Utter and complete bull. See here.

    3. Swedan has been doing this long enough to know he's wrong; therefore he's comfortable criminally misleading people. When even Spencer, Watts, Curry and Tallbloke don't agree with you, maybe it's time to shut up shop.

      Interesting that telescopes used to measure CIB are all space-based.

    4. Swedan has certainly been presented with more than sufficient evidence that he's wrong.

      However, I'm not going to guess at motives - he might know he's wrong but consider ideology more important, as with the anti-government crowd. Perhaps he may be so enamored of his hypotheses to ignore any contradictory evidence; confirmation bias. I don't know.

      What is clear, however, is that he's making erroneous claims - contradicted by pretty much all of spectroscopy, conservation of energy, quantum theory, and the last 150 years of climate study. He's just wrong...

    5. Now Nabil is just being silly. Quite stupid. He wrote: "Peer-review does not guarantee the correctness of a paper; it only finds the paper as worth publication for the review and scrutiny of the public."

      This is true. But when there are no papers disputing well-understood atmospheric physics. When there is no paper that disputes the theory first postulated around 200 years ago, and confirmed by experiment in the 1860s. When there has been lots of work explaining the greenhouse effect, supported by evidence - and none to the contrary - then it's more than reasonable to accept it as fact. Particularly when all the technology based on these facts work.

      More than that. It is entirely unreasonable not to accept it as fact.

      It's telling that Nabil hasn't been able to provide even one single peer-reviewed publication that disputes the greenhouse effect. In 200 years there should have been dozens, no, hundreds of papers that show that CO2 and H2O and CH4 and O3 etc do not absorb and emit radiation. There should have been hundreds of papers that show that the planet stays warm because of something other than the atmosphere and solar energy.

      It's because he or she doesn't have anything except his own denial of science. Since he can't produce any evidence showing that the greenhouse effect isn't real, I am wondering whether his claim of being a chemical engineer is false. It's clear that he doesn't understand the basics of chemistry and I doubt he'd understand the first thing about chemical engineering. (Perhaps he was employed as a draftsperson, drawing designs of other people. Or a test tube washer. Not sure that he'd have the skills for those either.)

    6. Nabil, you show more and more ignorance about anything related to the hard sciences. Ask an infrared astronomer what causes the "far and mid infrared sky brightness". Guess what: it is the thermal emission from the atmosphere, and it can easily an order of magnitude larger than the objects people are interested in. This is what makes analyses hard, but not impossible. For example, it is possible to select IR bands with limited thermal radiance, because atmospheric compounds do not absorb (and thus emit as per Kirchoff's law) in that same wavelength range. Or you put the IR telescopes in places which are higher up, which significantly reduces many different problematic factors, including downwelling radiation.

      For your reading pleasure:
      if you truly are an engineer with the necessary expertise, you should have no problem understanding this book chapter from 1985 (!!!!!!), which explains many aspects of the atmosphere, including radiance (as in emission of radiation).

      Measurements and modeling. Wait, what? Measurements? Did they really already have measurement of this stuff DECADES ago?? Why, yes, Nabil, those pesky scientists who don't 'now nuffin' indeed already knew all this stuff and had experimental data to corroborate their theoretical findings. Stuff that you still deny.

    7. Sou I have come to the conclusion that many of these deniers that do not look at the scientific evidence are at best delusional but far more probably liars. Psychopathy is in there as well.

      If the aim is to spread FUD then their constant bullshit will waste the time of their perceived enemy.

      You cannot reason with two year olds and denialists. They just do not understand anything vaguely complex.

      I hold them in the utmost contempt. I will not waste any more time trying to educate them or even insult them. From now on I will just simply call them a denier after any statement they make. This stops the flow of rubbish that is impossible to refute in real time such as in a so called 'debate'. Bert

    8. Swedan is fixated on the idea that the greenhouse effect violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. He is adamant on this point and rejects any explanation as to why this is just not true. Nor will he acknowledge any of the physical evidence of the greenhouse effect and the resulting back-radiation. He wrongly believes back-radiation cannot be measured. The fact that infra-red astronomy is done by high flying aircraft, satellites, or at the tops of mountains exactly as the result of the greenhouse effect escapes him. He simply twists what little knowledge he has to support his position. Any intelligent discussion on the subject with him is pointless. He writes with such conviction and passion ignoring the reality that one can only conclude that he is intellectually incapable of any in depth critical thought.

  15. On page 121, Sidney (1954) says:

    Because measurement of sky radiation is obviously a rather difficult task, it occupies a unique position in the physical sciences. Existing knowledge of sky radiation has been summarized by Moller (1951) in these words: “Long wave radiation occupies a peculiar position in the science of meteorology in that its effect in the atmosphere are known only through theoretical calculations and not through measurements.

    You will find that meteorological charts of backradiation are based only on theoretical formulas, and no one has ever measured backradiation. They are only based on theoretical hypothesis. Those claimed to have measured backradiations, they in fact measured background radiation from the surroundings or the instruments themselves because these were not sufficiently cooled. Infrared telescopes are sufficiently cooled close to zero absolute and they detect no infrared backradiation.

    I wish to agree with you and save myself time and effort, but sorry, you are way too wrong. Backradiations does not exist in the real world because it cannot.


    Sidney C. Stern and Fredrick Schwartzmann, 1954. An Infrared Detector for Measurement of the Back Radiation from the Sky. Journal of Meteorology, Volume 11, 121-129.

    Moller F., 1951: Long-Wave Radiation. Compendium Meteor., Boston, American Meteorological Society, P. 34.

    1. "Backradiations does not exist in the real world because it cannot."

      This has already been covered multiple times on the ACPD thread, yet you continue to act as it has not. My only response is to post Charles Holley's response to you previously as he succinctly points out "multiple studies have measured “back-radiation” via both satellites and surface measurements."

      I'm surprised you're able to afford a condo in Redmond that close to Bella Bottega.

    2. Nabil, now you are being weird. You're evidence there is no downwelling longwave radiation is a paper that describes measurements of downwelling long wave radiation?

      The sixty-four year old paper you quoted from describes an instrument that measured downwelling long wave radiation. Didn't you realise that? The paper's title should have given you a clue, if you couldn't get a hint from the passage you quoted. From your own paper:

      A long-wave radiometer has been developed, whose response is essentially independent of air flow and ambient temperature changes. By shielding the sensing element with a hemispherical "window," the integrated value of the back radiation from the sky can be measured. Satisfactory agreement has been found between theoretical and measured values of the back radiation from the sky during the day and night.

      These days, IR is being measured constantly. For example:



      This page includes a diagram and description of instrumentation used to measure radiation at the surface, including downward longwave radiation:

      Since you've a mental block when it comes to climate, you might be more open to an engineering/occupational health and safety article. So here's a chapter describing how infrared gas sensors work - how gases can be detected by infrared (longwave) detection instruments - including the atmospheric greenhouse gases, CO2 and CH4.

      If after all that you still don't "believe", all I can suggest is that you go see a shrink and ask them why.

    3. Nabil's approach is to wait a while for a thread to go quiet, then post more nonsense on a dead thread in the hope that there will be a page, somewhere, he can point to where he hasn't been challenged on his senseless statements.

      I'd recommend sending any more of this to the HotWhoppery.

    4. This fool is just trying to waste our time.

    5. This is the quote in context. Nabil must think he can twist the meaning by presenting only a partial quote, and he does not even come close. It is clear Moller is referring to the "effects' of LWR on the atmosphere, not to the measurement of LWR (Moller then goes on to explain how the LWR measurement are done from balloons, aircraft and the ground :-) )

      "Long-wave radiation occupies a peculiar position in
      the science of meteorology in that its effects in the free
      atmosphere are known only through theoretical cal-
      culations and not through measurements. These calcula-
      tions are, nevertheless, based on experiments in the
      laboratory and in the atmosphere. The atmospheric
      radiation is very seldom measured from balloons [3]
      or from aircraft [17], but quite frequently on the ground
      where the radiation from above is observed"

    6. The inability of Swedan to understand even the most basic scientific articles is not surprising. Wherever he shows up, it may be a good idea to point out this little subthread; referencing a paper that explains a method to measure backradiation to claim it says it does not exist...classic cognitive dissonance.

    7. Marco.

      You have a point there.

      On another group I entered into a discussion (in good faith) and exactly that happened - I was given references to studies that I was told supported the arguments a denier was making. But I found the studies said exactly the opposite. When I pointed this out, the denier became hostile and rude - sounds familiar?

      It was obvious the denier had not read the studies. I worked out later they had just gotten the names of the studies off some climate change denier resource website (think Popular Technology.net and CO2Science)

    8. Nabil, that's just sad. Posting references that directly contradict your claims simply indicates that you haven't actually read them.

      You apparently cannot dazzle us with your brilliance, but are instead attempting to baffle with bull. Bzzzt.

    9. I have a nice Fluke infra-red thermometer. It is one of my prized possessions due to both its utility, plus the fact that I just admire the engineering of the device. Apparently the engineers that designed this device had a thorough understanding of radiant heat transfer and all the related physical laws otherwise the development of this device would not have been possible.

      Indeed, this device can easily be used to show the fallaciousness of Swedan’s disingenuous claims of a colder object being unable to radiate heat to a warmer object in imaginary defiance of the ancient laws of nature. I have a nice cold glass of ice water sitting on my desk with a mercury thermometer inserted in the water for measuring its temperature. It is clearly colder than the comfortable ambient temperature of my toasty office. My Fluke infra-red thermometer is kept in my office so is clearly at that same warm ambient temperature of the office. I take the device and “shoot” the temperature of the glass from a distance of approximately a half meter. Viola! The output on my Fluke thermometer gives a very similar temperature to the mercury thermometer inserted in the water! Both being slightly above the freezing point. How can this be? If a cold object cannot radiate its heat to warmer object per the genius of Swedan, I would think my warmer Fluke thermometer should have read absolute zero, correct? But of course it did not because it can and does receive the infra-red “heat” radiation from that colder object. Case closed.

      Swedan is so utterly delusional and invested in belief that a lower temperature object cannot radiate to a warm object because of a simplistic interpretation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics that no amount of evidence will convince him otherwise. It will just be ignored and he will go on with his ranting lunacy rather than invest in a true understanding of the physics relating to thermodynamics and heat transfer. Very sad really.

    10. CCholley,

      I think what Swedan is saying is that your IR thermometer works by magic. The company has hired some elfs that, everytime you point your IR thermometer at something, stop time, measure the temperature of that object with an ordinary thermometer, and then adjust the read-out on your IR thermometer to yield the same value.

      Alternatively, but not less magic, there is some conversation going on between the object and your IR thermometer.
      IR-T: "What's your temperature, dude?"
      O: "Uh, something like 4 degrees"
      IR-T: "Thanks, dude, I'll put that on my display"

      Quite significantly less magic would be that this supposed non-existing radiation of the object, regardless of its temperature, actually *does* exist and falls onto the IR thermometer. The latter registers this radiation, and translates the observed radiation into a temperature reading. This includes temperatures that are lower than those of the IR thermometer.

      But I think Swedan will go for the elfs as an explanation...

  16. "If a cold object cannot radiate its heat to warmer object per the genius of Swedan, I would think my warmer Fluke thermometer should have read absolute zero, correct? But of course it did not because it can and does receive the infra-red “heat” radiation from that colder object. Case closed."

    No Sir, case is wide open.

    When you point the IR thermometer to the cold glass, the warmer thermometer radiates heat to the colder glass. The thermometer loses heat and and the thermometer measures cold temperature, its own temperature. Remember, cold object do not radiate heat to warmer object, it is impossible, it is the law of nature.

    Your experiment is a sample of armature ones based on which publications have been disseminated in the body of the climate science, and its time to weed them out with all due respect. No backradiation can exist from a cold object to warm object. All publications have been misinterpreted as backradiation from cold to hot when in fact they were measuring radiation from the instrument itself just like this experiment of yours.

    1. "they were measuring radiation from the instrument itself just like this experiment of yours."

      Amazing, the instrument measures its own radiation? In that case it would be measuring the same temperature as that of the room, maybe even slightly higher, since he is holding the instrument. In other words, the experiment itself and its result completely contradict your claim. The reason is obvious: you are incompetent.

      Have you already asked an IR astronomer about this supposed non-existent backradiation? I did, and they did not know whether to laugh or cry. "He's lying" said one. "Why do you argue with fools" said another.

    2. I know Nabil's comments should go to the HotWhoppery, but they are too, too weird. I've decided to leave them here for the moment and will probably add them to the HotWhoppery as well.

      To think that he claims some sort of chemical engineering training. I don't believe him. There is no way he passed any subject in chemistry (or physics). And I doubt he'd have passed any engineering subject either - definitely not any chemical engineering subject.

      I wonder if he "believes in" any of gravity, or evolution, or an almost spherical Earth, or heliocentrism, or genetics, or germ theory.

    3. Nibbits like Nabil Swedan simply don't understand physics. Everything that is not at absolute zero radiates energy. Cold to warm, warm to cold, equal to equal - it all exists in nature.

      The *NET* energy flow will be warm to cold because warm is radiating *MORE*. This does *NOT* mean that the cooler object isn't radiating energy - how can it possibly know? Do you think your glass of iced-tea sees a glass of ice water nearby and thinks to itself - damn, am I warmer or colder than that ice water? I don't know if I can radiate in that direction or not.

      Silly Swedan, that glass of iced-tea is going to radiate regardless of what's in the vicinity. If it receives more energy than it gives up, then it will warm, otherwise it cools.

      I'm not sure why so many deniers simply can't understand this - apparently they read some nutter article that told them it's impossible and rather than think they just buy any old charlatan's story.

      Oh, and Nabil, you haven't a clue how an IR thermometer works. Rather than just making things up you ought to read and *understand* the basic physics of the instrument. An IR thermometer is measuring the infra-red radiation emitted by the object at which it is pointed. The thermometer acts as a receiver.

      Your idea that "All publications have been misinterpreted as backradiation from cold to hot when in fact they were measuring radiation from the instrument itself" is complete and utter nonsense. Absolutely bonkers. Batshit crazy.

    4. Oh stop being so polite, Kevin ;-)

      Actually, I haven't heard the 'IR can't radiate from cold to hot object' in a while. It's risen from the grave!

      So Nabil Swedan earns this week's George A. Romero award.

      Well done Nabil!

    5. Swedan says “When you point the IR thermometer to the cold glass, the warmer thermometer radiates heat to the colder glass. The thermometer loses heat and and the thermometer measures cold temperature, its own temperature. Remember, cold object do not radiate heat to warmer object, it is impossible, it is the law of nature.”

      This supposed scientific explanation is without a doubt the most senseless nonsense that I have ever had the misfortune to read in any scientific discourse. It is beyond being mind-numbing senseless trash and I am flabbergasted that someone who claims to be a Chemical Engineer could write with such a total and complete ignorance of science while claiming otherwise. This while entirely ignoring the comprehensive explanations presented to him as to why his position is completely without basis. Furthermore, he completely ignores and rejects the plethora of hard and repeatable scientific evidence that has been presented multiple times.

      “The thermometer loses heat and the thermometer measures its own temperature.”

      Really? This is more Swedan nonsense. Anyone versed in the science of radiative heat transfer is easily capable of calculating the rate at which the infra-red thermometer would lose temperature through radiation in the direction of the colder glass of ice water using the Sefan-Boltzmann law. And guess what? It would take far longer than the instantaneous reading I get on the infra-red thermometer. Far longer. Not only that, according to Swedan’s science, that glass would have to warm accordingly and we would have been able to observe a rise in the temperature of the ice water with the mercury thermometer, but also of course, we do not.

      “Remember, cold object do not radiate heat to warmer object, it is impossible, it is the law of nature.”

      As explained many many times in the simplest terms possible, this statement is patently false. All objects above absolute zero radiate heat in all directions and that incident infra-red heat radiation can and does impinge on any warmer object in its environment. Nothing can stop an object from radiating in all directions. NOTHING. THIS is a proven law of nature.

      The discussion with Swedan is beyond hope. Swedan ignores evidence through rationalization. He appears to have limited intellectual capacity and is incapable of grasping simple concepts nor is he capable of critical in-depth critical thought. Either that or he is a stark raving lunatic. Either way I honestly have to feel sorry for him. I do have to admit; however, that I do find his responses highly entertaining.

    6. CCHolley, I think it is the latter (as in "stark raving lunatic"). Perhaps this following video gives you some insights into how crazy cranks can be:
      Note the reference to engineers as being rather overrepresented.

    7. Just take the piss. It saves pixels.

    8. This guy has a Ph.D., writes good textbooks, and was a colleague in my previous career. He's smart. And deluded.


      Swedan may actually be an engineer.

    9. Nabil:

      An object at 15c, with a 650 cm-1 absorption of 80%, is struck by a 650 cm-1 photon from an object at 25C. What is the likelyhood of absorbing that photon? Hint: 80%.

      An object at 15c, with a 650 cm-1 absorption of 80%, is struck by a 650 cm-1 photon from an object at only 5C, a colder object. What is the likelyhood of absorbing that photon? Hint: 80%.

      Photons (unlike Arizonan citizens under Republican scrutiny) do not carry ID cards. Warm objects receive energy from cold objects, just less of it than from equivalent warmer objects because of the radiative spectra changes with temperature. Your opinions on energy transfer are simply fantastical nonsense, "Just So Stories", and have no relationship with physics other than error.

      Until and/or unless you learn some actual physics, just... go away.

    10. numerobis...That would make sense. I don't know what it is about engineers--my brother is one--that makes them so susceptible to totally irrational thinking outside their limited areas of expertise but the effect is real.

      Of course I am not the original person to observe this. Talk.origins noticed it long ago and maybe others did before that giving it the name of "Salem hypothesis".

    11. Nabil Swedan claims to be a professional engineer with two degrees (http://www.pacificengineeringpllc.com/). An online check shows that he is, in fact, currently so licensed in the state of Washington. (And possibly others, but I didn't check.)

    12. My favourite counter-example is imagining the reasoning that goes into a cold rock in space trying to determine whether to fire a photon in a particular direction. The photon will keep going until it hits something, so now the poor rock has to figure out precisely where everything will be over the path of that photon: will the warm grain of dust in Saturn's ring be in the way, ten light-minutes hence, or is there a straight shot to the dark side of a comet a few solar systems over?

      Throw in wave-particle duality to make it even more impossible.

    13. " ... now the poor rock has to figure out precisely where everything will be over the path of that photon ..."

      And how many times a second does that cold rock have to make that judgement? And does that not mean that basically it can never make the decision to fire a photon? And if it does fire a photon that photon is never allowed to hit anything warmer? Which means ...

      Never mind. I am confused now.

  17. @ numerobis: if only the vast quantum computing power of warm objects could be harnessed for good instead of evil.

    1. I'm pretty sure the effect could be used to send messages faster than light. Not 100% sure, but pretty sure. And that would be cool! (or warm, or something)

    2. numerobis there is an element of truth in your conjecture. If a photon had consciousness it would experience the time it takes to cross even the known Universe as an instant. It only experiences time while resident in some atoms electron level or vibrational state until it is re-emitted.


  18. You can do as many experiments as you wish and write all the books in the world, but facts on the ground are what matters. There are no backradiation from the atmosphere to the surface, and no one has ever measured it following an acceptable scientific and correct procedure, it is the hard truth. Those how did like Dr. CCHolley simply did not do the experiment right.

    If Dr. Holly repeats his experiment by shielding the infrared thermometer and cooling the shield with liquid nitrogen or helium close to zero absolute, to minimize or eliminate background radiation, then points the thermometer assembly to the night sky, he will never ever get 330 watts per square meters of backradiation as the climate science claims. He will get close to zero, just like infrared astronomers get. I am willing to bid money, any bidders?

    1. And when the experiment is done, and you are proven wrong, you will simply redefine your requirements until they cannot be met - the 'impossible expectations' form of denial.

      Backradiation is easily measured, and exists. And in fact is thermodynamically required for a stable surface temperature of ~15C, as without the average 333 W/m^2 backradiation the surface would be _cooling_ at 333 W/m^2, the difference between incoming and outgoing energy without backradiation. Your 'physics' are utter nonsense, and your Arguments By Assertion sans evidence are logical fallacies.

      Even false experts for hire such as Fred Singer disavow that kind of nonsense, because such idiocy is an embarrassment to climate denial in general. And if the professional deniers are abandoning an argument, it's really _really_ bad.


      Sou, I would suggest the HotWhoppery as a potential destination for Nabils comments. At this point he's just repeating his nonsense over and over in the face of _all_ the evidence to the contrary.

    2. It is clear that Nabil Swedan just doubles down on his ignorance and stupidity.

      If he had any ability to learn, I could point him here:
      (which refers to several papers that have actually measured this supposedly non-existent backradiation - Swedan will probably just claim they did the measurements wrong, which makes the ability of people to actually *predict* this backradiation quite amazing).

      Note that the DLR is not a fixed value. The oft-cited 330 W/m2 is an annual average over the globe, but location, day/night, clear-sky, etc will matter a lot.

      For others who have an ability to learn, see:
      The money quote:
      "In addition, astronomers making ground based observations measure both the emission from our atmosphere and from the object that they are observing. They then subtract the atmospheric emission from the infrared emission of a celestial object to get an accurate measurement."

      What's this? Emission from the atmosphere? Gasp! The non-existent backradiation that Nabil Swedan claims IR astronomers do not see...THEY DO SEE!

      See also:

      And for those who are still not convinced Swedan does not know what he is talking about...ask him how we ever measured the 3K cosmic background radiation. Blackbody radiation as if it is an object of 3 Kelvin, measured with equipment that we cannot even cool that far down.

    3. Nabil, are you the NS of http://www.pacificengineeringpllc.com/? If yes, your potential clients should see this thread. If no, maybe the real Nabil Swedan should get in touch with you for reputational damage?

    4. PL, he is the same. Perhaps somewhat paradoxically, despite claiming there is no such thing as backradiation, he does acknowledge that CO2 emissions heat the earth, and that we are on a trajectory of ca. 2 degrees of (additional) warming by 2100. Just see his "publications" page.

  19. Correction..

    Sorry for the misspelling, Dr. CCHolley instead of Dr. Holly

    1. Swedan, you are correct, hard facts on the ground are what matter in science. You have been given multiple examples of measurements of back-radiation; however, you simply declare that the measurements were made incorrectly. Quite ironically, it is YOU that have provided no hard facts to back up YOUR claims. The people that have both designed and utilized this equipment are not as ignorant as you make them out to be and are quite capable of determining the limitations of the equipment and what is required to make them perform within acceptable limits. YOU declaring that back-radiation has not been measured is simply not substantiated by the evidence. You are just rationalizing.

      As for my experiment, it was not measuring back-radiation, but rather, infra-red heat radiation from a colder object therefore your response here is just a deflection. This, of course, while totally ignoring my explanation as to why your response was silly.

      In addition, you have failed to provide any evidence that infra-red astronomers actually do not detect down dwelling infra-red radiation. YOU making that claim simply does not make it so especially since it isn’t true.

  20. I guess I am missing something. But is Nabil saying if you shield the thermometer (from radiation) then you will read zero radiation?

  21. Nabil the back radiation due to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has absolutely NOTHING to do with the temperatures of the Earth/atmosphere and hence their black body radiation.
    Your idiotic assertions passing for argument is not valid at all.

    Greenhouse gases absorb specific wavelengths of far IR emitted by the surface and re emit in random directions. So for a thin horizontal layer of atmosphere this absorbed far IR is reflected about 50% down. With each successive layer there is less upwelling far IR.
    Now go away and learn some first year Physics. Bert

  22. The Swedan discussion brings out the danger of one attempting the application of knowledge without a complete understanding of the basis of that knowledge. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a clear example. The Second Law is not a fundamental law of nature, as Swedan would like to have us believe, rather it is the simple result of more basic physical laws. Understanding that physics helps us understand the application of the Second “Law”.

    Let’s look at heat transfer theory. Although we often talk in terms of three forms of heat transfer, conduction, convection, and radiation, the reality is that there are only two, conduction and radiation, as convection is simply enhanced conduction via movement of a fluid. Conduction and radiation are fundamentally different processes and the physics behind them are completely different as are the reasons the Second Law applies.

    Heat in an object represents its ability to transfer the kinetic energy of its basic particles. This kinetic energy generally comes from translational movement of the molecules in a fluid and vibration of molecules in a solid. The temperature is representative of the average kinetic energy of these particles.

    In conduction, heat transfer occurs due to elastic collisions of molecules. In an elastic collision we know that both kinetic energy and momentum are conserved. This means that the particle with higher kinetic energy will transfer some of its energy to the particle with lower energy and never the other way around. Now when we take two objects in contact, since the warmer object has on average more particles with higher kinetic energy, more energy is transferred to the colder object and the NET effect is that although the energy moves in both directions (gasp) the warmer object loses heat while the colder gains. Heat flow from hot to cold is simply due to the conservation of kinetic energy and momentum and not the Second Law at all. The Second Law is the result of this mechanism, not the cause.

    Thermal radiation is more complex. As the molecules in motion collide with others this also creates charge-acceleration and/or dipole oscillation, which converts some of the kinetic energy into electromagnetic radiation or photons that are then emitted. When this radiation strikes another object and is absorbed it increases the kinetic energy of the molecule that absorbs it. Hence kinetic energy is transferred. Of course, all matter above absolute zero by definition has particle motion and hence kinetic energy with collisions that emit radiation. This is a fundamental law of nature. The amount of energy released is per the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and to the fourth power of its absolute temperature. The Stefan-Boltzmann Law assures us that a warmer object will radiate more heat in the direction of a colder object than the colder object will radiate in the direction of the warmer resulting in a NET heat flow from hot to cold. Again much like conductive heat transfer, the Second Law is the result of this mechanism, not the cause.

    Again, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is not a fundamental law of nature rather it represents NET energy exchange in an isolated system and is the reflection of fundamental physics. It has no magical power to prevent radiation from a cold object to a warmer object

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    2. Swedan, you twist reality to fit your ignorant understanding of thermodynamics. I never ever denied the Second Law of Thermodynamics. My point was it is derived from basic physical laws and in itself does not prevent heat radiation from a cold object to a warm object because there is no physical mechanism to prevent this from occurring. Your assertion that the Second Law precludes the possibility that heat can be radiated from a cold object to warm object is simply incorrect. You are only capable of an argument by assertion with no scientific basis. Please explain the mechanism that prevents an object from emitting thermal radiation. You cannot just state heat can never be radiated from a cold object and impinge on a warmer object because of the Second Law, you must explain the exact mechanism that prevents this from occurring.

      Also, please explain how my infra-red thermometer measures the temperature of a colder object. And please do not use your previous silly attempt, as it is not a physically possible explanation.

      This one is particularly silly: “If a cold object radiates heat back to a warm object the warm object will radiate more energy to the cold object and the temperature of the world would have run out of control, which is not observed.”

      Why would the temperature run out of control? Please explain. The hotter object is radiating at a higher rate than the cold object therefore the NET heat flow is in the direction of the cold object. As the hot object cools, which it does because it is losing heat faster than it is receiving heat from the cooler object, its rate of heat loss diminishes while at the same time the cooler object warms and its rate of radiating increases. In time, the bodies reach thermal equilibrium and are at the same temperature. Per the Stefan-Boltzmann Law, the heat is then radiated by both at the same rate at each other, hence they both remain at the same temperature. There is no thermal runaway. This is a simple principal that should not take much mental effort to understand nor is the math that difficult to confirm it.

      You interpret the Clausius statement to be an absolute, when it actually refers to NET heat flow. I’ve explained to you what the Second Law of Thermodynamics actually means and you simply choose to use your own simplistic and incorrect interpretation. You are clueless. It in no way prevents back-radiation from occurring.

      Like you, I will just repeat: YOU have failed to provide any evidence that infra-red astronomers actually do not detect down dwelling infra-red radiation. YOU making that claim simply does not make it so especially since it isn’t true.

      And again, YOU declaring that back-radiation has not been measured properly is simply not substantiated by the evidence. You continue to just rationalize and argue through assertion.

    3. Nabil has 'form'


      You can check his 'publications' here

      I'm sure that Nabil is a talented engineer, but when it comes to the physics of climate science, my advice would be to leave it to the experts.

      His 'evidence' that the measurement of backradiation is wrong is itself based on a misconception.

      "and in the presence of the claimed infrared backradiation it would be impossible for infrared astronomy to exist. How come you measure 330 watts per square meter of backradiation and they do not? One has to be wrong and the answer is obvious."

      It's precisely because of backradiation and the infrared opaqueness of the atmosphere (caused by greenhouse gases), that NASA has SOFIA

      Also have a read of this


      PS. Denying empirical measurements makes you look very foolish.

    4. Also check out his latest paper.



      Where he claims, and I quote

      "links the observed increase in geological activities to surface temperature rise"

      Shame though that actual geologists don't agree.

      Another case where Nabil considers himself to be a nuevo Galileo.

    5. Nabil

      Please explain why the Earth is not ~15K colder than it is without invoking radiative physics.

      Do please remember that the upper troposphere is not the top of the atmosphere ;-)


    6. Mr. Swedan submitted a paper to 'Solid Earth' titled

      "Energy of plate tectonics calculation and projection"

      where he sought to rewrite the science of plate tectonics. I must say the reviewers were very polite. They managed to say 'you are completely nuts' with decorum.

      Here are a few of my favourites.

      "I do not recommend publication of this paper because what’s good in it was already known 40 years ago and the author does not refer to that work. There are also many other problems with it"

      "Basically, I find that the physical model that is described here is physically impossible, and it is poorly described as well. I am not adverse to new ideas for plate driving forces, but to be convincing these ideas need to be well-described and physically plausible, neither of which is achieved here. The rich background in this field also cannot be ignored"

      "It is claimed that the natural carbon cycle initiated the warming and glacial periods. I think that’s a side issue for this paper, and a lot more work would be needed to substantiate the statement. Is it being claimed that the carbon cycle is why we have had glacial periods in the last 2.5 Ma, and from 360-260 Ma, 450-420 Ma, 800-635 Ma, and 2400-2100 Ma,but not in between? The carbon cycle must have been very different over 2000 Ma ago, and I’m under the impression there were no land plants at 635 Ma. Or is Swedan claiming that the glacial- interglacial changes over tens of thousands of years are driven by the carbon cycle, not the Milankovich cycles?"

      "There are many misspellings (e.g. “mantel”) and odd word associations (e.g. “the plate tectonics”). The author shows no knowledge of the literature on the problem of the energy of the Earth’s interior and the driving forces of plate tectonics. The authors attempt to characterize the thermodynamic behavior of the Earth is very difficult to follow, and numerous nontrivial contradictions with contemporary thought are not
      discussed. Many statements have dubious meaning or credibility"


      It seems that Mr. Swedan has been pushing his barrow of pure nonsense and bunkum for some time now, and of course does not take a whit of notice to experts (or reality) who tell him otherwise. I would highly recommend that he seek professional psychological treatment at the earliest convenience.

    7. Some of Nabil's deleted comment has been recorded at the the HotWhoppery. Sou

    8. Since Swedan is so fixated on the Second Law of Thermodynamics and heat being only capable of moving from hot to cold and being that Swedan claims to be a chemical engineer, I thought I’d take a look at some old engineering textbooks to see what they have to say about the subject.

      Wark, Kenneth, “Thermodynamics”, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1971.

      This book has three chapters that cover the Second Law. The first, chapter six is fifty-five pages and includes the following definition of the Second Law: “The entropy of an isolated system always either increases or remains the same when the system changes from one equilibrium state to another.” Hmm, nowhere in this chapter does it state heat can only move from hot to cold.

      The next chapter is approximately fifty pages and covers consequences of the second law. Heat flows from hot to cold? Not mentioned anywhere in this chapter. Why does such an important law of nature get no mention?

      The third chapter is shorter at about thirty-five pages and covers some more consequences of he Second Law. Eureka! Finally something, a corollary of the Second Law, the Clausius statement: “It is impossible to operate a cyclic device in such a manner that the sole effect external to the device is the transfer of heat from one heat reservoir to another at a higher temperature.” That’s it with several paragraphs of explanation. Does this corollary say that heat in the absolute can only move from hot to cold? No. Does it state that a cold object cannot emit radiation to a warmer object? No. This is a figment of Swedan’s imagination.

      Next I take a look at an engineering heat transfer textbook.

      Holman, J. P. “Heat Transfer”, Third edition, McGraw-hill Book company, 1972.

      Chapter eight of this textbook covers radiation heat transfer in about 35 pages. Nowhere in this chapter can I find any discussion of the Second law, nor anything that could be interpreted to state that a cold object cannot radiate to a warmer object. Nothing. In fact, it clearly states the opposite. In determining the net heat flow between two bodies one must calculate the total energy leaving the first surface and reaching the second surface while also calculating the total energy leaving the second surface and reaching the first surface. The net heat exchange between the two surfaces is the difference of these heat flows. Later in the chapter it specifically states: “It should be rather obvious by now that all equations that are obtained from the radiation network….could be written: Net heat loss by surface = energy emitted – energy absorbed.” Not surprisingly, the engineering textbook confirms exactly what has been stated: all objects above absolute zero radiate heat and two objects exchange heat in both directions with a net heat exchange from warm to cold. It is also interesting that the chapter briefly discusses heat absorption of CO2 and H20 and the complexity of calculating the heat exchange. References are given for further discussion.

      Back-radiation does not exist in engineering? This seems to be another Swedan fabrication.

    9. I wouldn't be surprised if Nadel doesn't know the mechanism by which energy radiates. He might think it's like aether - some mysterious fluid mechanism. I suspect that based on the fact he has such a mental block. That he thinks that photons only shoot out of the hottest object in a system but he refuses to explain how that hottest object "knows" it is the hottest object (which of course it doesn't). Or how the slightly cooler object "knows" it's not its turn to start emitting radiation.

      I think he is too far gone to learn anything. Other lurkers who don't know about heat and light and radiation might like to think about how night vision goggles work. They can help you see objects by detecting infrared radiation (ie heat radiating off the objects, not just the very hottest object in the system). The beauty is that you don't have to cool the goggles to -273.16°C to get them to work:


    10. Only asymmetric molecules can be greenhouse gases. Why is CO2 a greenhouse gas when it is symmetric?

      The answer is a complicated mixture of dipole vibrations caused by collisions and quantum mechanics.


    11. Uhm, Bert, it has nothing to do with asymmetry being required, nor with collisions, nor with quantum mechanics (well, a little bit). The fact is that two of the fundamental vibrational modes of CO2 cause asymmetry in the molecule, and thus result in an oscillating dipole moment. That's enough to be strongly IR active.

    12. "vibrational modes of CO2 cause asymmetry "

      That sounds like it is something to do with asymmetry.

    13. Anonymous - it just means that you do not need to have an asymmetric molecule for it to be IR active. It is not a requirement.

      I even made a mistake by stating that two of the fundamental vibrational modes cause asymmetry. The bending vibration actually involves a motion within a symmetrical molecule. I guess I will just blame the early time point that I wrote this (I am not in Australia) for the mistake.

      I also assume Bert actually meant "linear" rather than "asymmetric". The asymmetric vibration takes place in the linear molecule, the bending vibration causes a change from linearity.

    14. Marco

      I understood that you meant a more nuanced mechanism.

      I just felt that your rather blunt "it has nothing to do with asymmetry" was not quite in keeping with a nuanced explanation.

    15. CCHolley : "I thought I’d take a look at some old engineering textbooks to see what they have to say about the subject"

      Just to say I like your way of thinking ;)

    16. Swedan and the engineering thing.

      Thinking more about Swedan, a self-proclaimed chemical engineer extraordinaire, and his total lack of common sense leads me to remember a young mechanical engineer that I worked with many years ago. This young fellow was brilliant in that if you had a mechanical engineering or related problem, he could quickly recall the proper formula for that particular problem no matter how complex or obscure. The surprising thing however was beyond this talent of impressive memory and recall he was dumber than a box of rocks. He could not for the life of him create a logical argument for anything. Relative to what you would generally expect from an engineer, he had an amazingly lack of critical thinking skills. Plus, he was very ridged in his thinking. Consequently, with his powers of recall, if he was given a traditional design problem solvable through standard engineering principles, he was just fine. On the other hand, give him a complex problem requiring some intellect and in depth understanding of the basic principles behind the problem, he was hopelessly lost. Fortunately for him, perhaps, in engineering, most problems conform to standard practices and knowing what those practices are will be enough for someone like him to get by. That is until they assume a specific design problem follows the norm, but in reality does not and the result is disastrous….

    17. @Dave - sorry for the delay in publishing your comment. I just fished it out of the spam folder. Google gets it wrong sometimes.

    18. Thanks Sou.

      So this is for Nabil.

      Check this out.

      the second plot is downwelling IR, otherwise known as backradiation actually being measured. I'm sorry that you don't accept that backradiation exists, and I'm sure that no amount of data, or explanation will ever make you see otherwise as your ability to conjure an alternate reality is so strong and overwhelming, but there it is. Backradiation, actually measured. If you can't accept that then you are beyond help.

  23. I agree that Marco was rather blunt in his dismissal of Bert's observation.Bert was in the ballpark and the curious person would follow that up with readings on the topic, and not rely on someone's wordy comment to explain QM.

    1. Bert was not in the ballpark when he stated only asymmetrical molecules can be greenhouse gases. I do think it was not what he meant to say (probably just as tired as I was).

    2. Yes Marco I was trying to be brief. Water is asymmetric and is a greenhouse gas. O2 and N2 are symmetric and are transparent to far IR i.e. they are not greenhouse gases.

      My aim was to point out that the blackbody radiation of Earth and atmosphere has nothing to do with the greenhouse effect.

      Water is a unique compound in that it is linked to all life processes due to its ability to form Hydrogen bonds and form ordered layers on biological molecules.
      In a former life before retirement I was involved with the elucidation of high resolution molecular structures of proteins by x-ray crystallography. When the resolution of the data was very high the bound or ordered water was quite visible in the electron density maps.
      Water actually forms an ordered layer about five Angstroms thick on biological molecules.

      You are quite correct to pull me up if I am wrong or sloppily word a statement to give the wrong impression.

      I worked in research labs for nearly forty years and am still having trouble to get up to speed with all the nuances of climate science.

      All the misinformation churned out by deniers makes things very difficult for even the scientifically educated let alone the average layman.

    3. I used to have long discussions with a theoretical chemist who was doing computations of molecular interactions at the quantum mechanical level. He confided that all of chemistry was just quantum mechanical interactions not recipes.
      This is why your body can burn sugar at 98.6C. Bert

  24. "Please explain the mechanism that prevents an object from emitting thermal radiation. You cannot just state heat can never be radiated from a cold object and impinge on a warmer object because of the Second Law, you must explain the exact mechanism that prevents this from occurring."

    Here is a cut and paste of my reply to a comment posted Dr. Roy Spencer's Blog tilled S. Fred Singer:

    Just I would like to add one more thing. The Stefan-Boltzmann law was later derived from the first and second law of thermodynamics. This inherently implies that Clausius statement is valid for radiation as well. Heat therefore cannot be radiated from a cold object to a warm object.

    Based on Plank, heat radiation is emitted at any temperature, and when it is “air born”, there is no way to stop it from going to a warmer object as backradiation. This is incorrect as you stated. It requires certain level of energy to overcome the “river flow” of incoming energy from hot to cold.
    Also, one cannot exclude the possibility of interaction between low frequency radiation from the cold object and those coming from the hot object. Because the spectrum from hot is broader, there must be a common frequency range. Since they have the same direction and opposite sense of travel, they are likely to interact destructively such that no backradiation can take off from the cold object in the first place.

    1. Mr. Swedan has a habit of disrupting with nonsense.



      And has been doing so for some time.

      "Heat therefore cannot be radiated from a cold object to a warm object."

      Yet this is what is actually observed. 'Cold' is a relative term. So what occurs is that photons from a low energy object such as the atmosphere will still strike a high energy object, such as the ground, even though there are photons emitted in the opposite direction. It is actually measured, and no, it's not a result of IR from the instrument as they have been carefully calibrated.

      "It requires certain level of energy to overcome the “river flow” of incoming energy from hot to cold."

      So in the previous example, the photons (which are in fact a wave function) don't annihilate each other. Their wave functions will simple pass each other unaffected. There is no overcoming of a 'river flow'

      "they are likely to interact destructively"

      No, there is no annihilation when two wave functions interact from opposite directions.If it were the case it would have been observed by now.

      Before trying to rewrite the science of plate tectonics, atmospheric physics and quantum mechanics, perhaps you might consider that you are mistaken and the rest of science is correct.

    2. It requires certain level of energy to overcome the “river flow” of incoming energy from hot to cold.

      No-one is trying to overcome anything like that, Nadel. You have somewhere along the line built a flawed paradigm. Heat (or energy) radiates out of any object above absolute zero temperature. It doesn't magically "flow" from a hot body to a cold body. It simply shoots out in a straight line (in all directions). It's just that if a cold body is in the path of the radiated energy, it will absorb it and warm up (increase energy).

      I think your problem is that you got into your head the notion that "heat flows from hot to cold" and have an image of tendrils of "heat" pointing from a hot widget to a cold widget. All that the notion that "heat flows from hot to cold" means is that in a closed system, the net change of heat will be the hot body will get cooler and the cold body will get warmer. The total change will be that both bodies radiate heat. (You are confusing net with total.)

      And there's not a flow like a river. The energy doesn't come out like some sort of snake-shape that swirls around looking for something cold to heat up. The energy shoots out in a straight line from everything. The hotter the object the more it will radiate. Colder objects won't radiate as much as warm objects. So on balance, the cold object will pick up more hits from energy radiating from the hot body than vice versa. A lot of the radiant heat will just pass right by it. And the hot one will radiate more energy (per unit time) than the colder one.

      I expect your brain is solidified on this issue and nothing will shift it. I'm only writing this because I'm trying to figure out what images you entertain when you think of your rivers of heat streaming out of hot bodies and wending their way to cold bodies :D. (I'm sure that people will have explained all this to you already, numerous times. Given how you say you've spouted it all over the internet.)

      BTW - how do you explain IR thermal imaging? Or Forward Looking Infrared? I expect they must seem to you like wondrous magic.



    3. "Since they have the same direction and opposite sense of travel, they are likely to interact destructively such that no backradiation can take off from the cold object in the first place."

      Not even wrong...

    4. Nabil has an almost medieval view of radiation. I get the impression he thinks of it like people used to think of aether. A type of fluid perhaps, and one that has a consciousness.

      The way he uses the term "backradiation" suggests to me that he thinks it's some sort of reaction to "radiation". It's not. It's all just radiation going in all directions. The "backradiation" he refers to is the radiation that shoots off in a downward direction - toward the surface. There's just as much shooting upwards, toward space. And it shoots sideways and at all angles.

      PS Sorry about the Nadel - I don't know where I got that from, Nabil.

    5. I think the term backradiation is unfortunate. It gives the impression of reflection or a reaction in one direction. It does not really fit.

      As you say it is just plain everyday radiation in all directions.

    6. Mr Swedan is clearly a fool, and his arguments fly in the face of known science and logic. If he is in fact the same person as the practising chemical engineer, then that raises the question of how someone so foolish could turn up to work each day and not expose their idiocy to everyone. Possibly he used to be intelligent, and is now running on over-learned routines that require no real intelligence, or perhaps he has islands of preserved cognition surrounded by idiocy. Perhaps he is an extreme example of someone shielding one part of their intellect from the rest of their mind in a desperate attempt to avoid cognitive dissonance. I suspect he would be an interesting case study for a psychologist. One thing is clear, though. He is not worth your time.

    7. Mostly in science papers (and blogs), the term I see used is "downwelling" radiation, to distinguish it from the radiation that moves sideways or in the upward direction.

    8. Swedan: “The Stefan-Boltzmann law was later derived from the first and second law of thermodynamics. This inherently implies that Clausius statement is valid for radiation as well. Heat therefore cannot be radiated from a cold object to a warm object.”

      Just because the Stefan-Boltzmann Law can be derived in part from the Second Law does not imply causation. As I explained earlier, the Stefan-Bolzmann Law is the result of basic physics related to particle kinetics and quantum theory and that’s what makes the Second Law true. Moreover, the Clausius statement never claimed heat in the absolute from hot to cold--only NET heat flow regardless of whether it is conduction or radiation. Temperature represents average kinetic energy of the particles in an object and some are at higher energy and some at lower energy. As I explained earlier at the molecular level, due to this variation in energy levels, even in conduction heat energy moves both ways from the warmer object to colder and colder to warmer with NET heat flow to the colder object.

      So, no, the Clausius statement does not imply that heat cannot be radiated from a cold object to a warm object. It is actually the exact opposite; the Stefan-Boltzmann law would have to be false if a cold object were somehow unable to radiate its heat towards a warmer object. As I explained earlier, it is the Stefan-Boltzmann law that makes the Second Law valid for radiation, not the other way around regardless of derivation.

      Swedan: “Based on Plank, heat radiation is emitted at any temperature, and when it is “air born”, there is no way to stop it from going to a warmer object as backradiation. This is incorrect as you stated.”

      If you are saying based on Planck, there is no way to stop radiation from a colder object then thank you for finally acknowledging this.

      Swedan: “It requires certain level of energy to overcome the “river flow” of incoming energy from hot to cold.”

      This is pure gibberish.

      Swedan: “Also, one cannot exclude the possibility of interaction between low frequency radiation from the cold object and those coming from the hot object. Because the spectrum from hot is broader, there must be a common frequency range. Since they have the same direction and opposite sense of travel, they are likely to interact destructively such that no backradiation can take off from the cold object in the first place.”

      Of course this is more nonsensical gibberish.

      Certainly in simple wave theory if waves of the same frequency and amplitude are travelling in opposite directions on the exact same path they can cancel each other out; however, the radiation emitted from a body at any temperature consists of a wide range of frequencies with a distribution given by Planck’s law. The warmer the emitting body, the more dominate the higher the frequencies. The likelihood of a cancelling match between two objects emitting at different temperatures would essentially be impossible.

      As for his final point: “they are likely to interact destructively such that no backradiation can take off from the cold object in the first place” is more nonsense. What in quantum theory tells you that this is possible? What could possibly stop a molecule in the colder object from absorbing the photons? If it did not, it wouldn’t warm. And, of course, a molecule absorbing the photons would be moved to a higher state of energy and more likely to emit photons than it was before, not less.

      Remember, in order to calculate the net radiative heat transfer between two objects you must calculate the heat radiated from each object using the Stefan-Boltzmann Law while subtracting the heat radiated from the cold from the heat radiated from the hotter object with the result being net heat flow in the direction of the colder object. This works. It wouldn’t with any of Swedan’s cockamamie theories.

      By the way, I’m still waiting for that plausible explanation as to how my infra-red thermometer can measure the temperature of that cold glass of water without receiving any thermal radiation from it.

    9. CCHolley:
      I'm on your side wrt the greenhouse effect, radiative transfer theory, etc., but you are getting on my nerves when you claim that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics can be derived from more fundamental physics. Boltzmann tried to do that, but ran into the problem that "fundamental physics" is time-reversible, whereas the 2LoT is not. In his development of statistical mechanics, he had to introduce a concept he called "molecular chaos" to bridge the gap between clearly time-reversible fundamental laws and the clearly irreversible 2LoT; but the concept "explains" the gap by introducing this irreversibility, in effect.

      For a more detailed examination of this topic, look up a discussion of Boltzmann's H-theorem; for example, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H-theorem .

    10. Neal J. King:

      Perhaps I was a bit sloppy. My meaning was intended to be around the heat transfer aspect of the second law and not the non-reversibility. That is, the second law does not preclude heat flow in the direction cold to hot, only net heat flow. I believe this aspect can be understood through more fundamental physics. My apologies, as my intent was to only get on Swedan’s nerves. ; )

  25. Fractal wrongness is the state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person's worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person's worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

    1. This is good…if the shoe fits….

      “Debating a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person's opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of poor logic, and outright lies, which requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one—kind of like a recursive Gish Gallop, where each point both surrounds and is surrounded by an equally wrong argument. It is worth noting that being fractally wrong can be handy for the losing side in a public debate, since you are likely to leave your opponent looking baffled and unable to deal with each level of wrongness.

      “It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

      “While arguing with these people can be amusing at times, we suggest that if you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet—in mailing lists, newsgroups, or forums—your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.”

      And I do find it amusing...both the debate and the characterization.

  26. This discussion is very educational, so thank you to everyone explaining what is wrong with Swedan's statements. I was understanding pretty well until I got to this statement by Jammy Dodger:

    "I think the term backradiation is unfortunate. It gives the impression of reflection or a reaction in one direction. It does not really fit. As you [Sou] say it is just plain everyday radiation in all directions."

    I thought that backradiation was radiation emitted by the surface and reflected back downward by the atmosphere. But apparently my thinking needs to be refined, so is this more accurate (in laymen's terms of course!)?

    Heat from the sun (in the form of photons striking the earth) warms the surface. Some of that heat (more photons) is radiated in all directions; some of it hits GHG molecules in the atmosphere and warms (agitates) them, so that they emit photons (radiate) in all directions. Some of these strike the earth, warming the surface still more.

    So the diagrams that show arrows coming in from the sun, then from earth to atmosphere and back again are not referring to any particular photon bouncing or reflecting back and forth, but are referring to a sequence of photons being emitted and absorbed and emitted, etc.

    I'm sure this is very elementary for most of you, but there are some of us whose science education is in the distant (sigh) past. Thanks for your help.

    1. You have it correct, except that some of the solar energy photons which arrive in the ultra-violet spectrum is reflected by both clouds and the surface and are never absorbed. GHGs only absorb the lower frequency long wave intra-red heat that has been emitted by the warm surface.

  27. Sorry FLWolverine, I did not mean to confuse. I was just trying to say there is not anything special about backradiation. Though some people can argue about it endlessly.

    The surface has a temperature and therefore radiates.

    The atmosphere has a temperature and therefore radiates. In all directions.

    The radiation from the surface will (mostly) be absorbed by the atmosphere. This will put the temperature up and the atmosphere will radiate a bit more. But still in all directions. That which is radiated back to the surface is called backradiation - or as Sou suggests - downwelling radiation.

    Hope this helps.

    1. It does help. This was a good kind of confusion because it made me think about why I was confused. Now I've learned something!

  28. So based on your theories, heat is a relative term and ice has heat. Therefore ice can radiate heat everywhere.

    Can you convince any person that one can heat his bedroom by stacking blocks of ice in the room? Wake up guys to the reality of the greenhouse gas effect and backradiation theory, this is exactly what it says.

    1. I can't believe a practicing engineer can spout this crap.

      Put ice near freezing in an igloo at -40 C. Will it heat the room? How did the ice know it was in an igloo rather than in some idiot engineer's office in Redmond?

    2. If I hadn't been following the climate change 'debate' for some years, I would have been amazed that an experienced professional engineer would repeatedly and publicly trip himself up over a question on a level with "How does a thermos bottle know to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot?"

      But I have been following it, so you have to do better (worse) than that to surprise me now.

    3. * Lawyer: "How can you be so sure, Doctor?"

      * Witness: "Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar."

      * Lawyer: "But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?"

      * Witness: "Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing engineering somewhere."

    4. "How does a thermos bottle know to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot?

      Ha ha. I can remember being puzzled by that. My excuse is I was only 4 years old.

    5. Swedan: “So based on your theories, heat is a relative term and ice has heat. Therefore ice can radiate heat everywhere.”

      Correct. The idea that all matter above absolute zero contains heat was developed by the likes of Robert Boyle, James Prescott, and Lord Kelvin. That all matter above absolute zero radiates heat per the Stefan-Boltzmann law was developed by Jozef Stefan based on measurements made by John Tyndall with theoretical considerations. This equation is: radiant power = Stefan Constant x T^4, where temperature is in degrees Kelvin. Therefore, per the formula, ice can radiate heat everywhere. If you accept Clausius, then you must accept this to be true.

      Sweden: “Can you convince any person that one can heat his bedroom by stacking blocks of ice in the room? Wake up guys to the reality of the greenhouse gas effect and backradiation theory, this is exactly what it says.”

      NO. This is NOT allegorical of the greenhouse effect and is not what the greenhouse theory says. Not even close. You ARE clueless.

      For practical purposes, we can assume the room is an isolated system (no furnace or external heat loss). Because it is an isolated system, per the Second Law the entropy of the room would increase and NET heat flow would be such that the temperature of the ice and the room would reach temperature equilibrium. If the room happened to be colder than the 0 degrees C of the ice, the ice would HEAT the room. If the room was warmer than the ice, of course it would cool it.

      The earth climate is NOT an isolated system, hence the Second Law does not apply. The sun constantly heats the surface of the planet. The sun is external to the system. Heat is lost from the system through radiation to space. It should be obvious that it is the sun that heats the surface to a temperature higher than that of the GHGs, not the GHGs themselves. The GHGs simply radiate some of the heat that it absorbs from the surface radiation back to the surface further warming it. This is all in accordance to the accepted physics of thermodynamics and heat transfer.

      Still waiting for that explanation of how my infra-red thermometer measures the temperature of the cold glass without receiving thermal radiation from the glass.

    6. "How did the ice know it was in an igloo rather than in some idiot engineer's office in Redmond?"

      The address listed on Swedan's website isn't even an office building, it's an old rundown condo complex. I have pictures of me as a toddler riding the cow at Theno's Dairy when it still existed, probably around the same time Swedan's condo was built.

    7. CCHolley: didn't Swedan answer your question a while back?

      When you point the IR thermometer to the cold glass, the warmer thermometer radiates heat to the colder glass. The thermometer loses heat and and the thermometer measures cold temperature, its own temperature

      So the IR sensor instantly gets cold when you point it at a cold object. Simple!

      Simply bonkers, obviously.

    8. If a closed room was at minus 60 degrees and Nabil wanted to get the temperature down to minus 70 degrees, he'd probably put blocks of ice at minus 5 degrees in the room. He'd swear black and blue that the room should have got colder because he added ice, and be completely puzzled to find that instead of getting colder the room got warmer.

      He'd be even more puzzled to see that the ice didn't melt even though the whole room got warmer. He'd tell the ice that it was disobeying his personal laws of physics.

    9. numerobis: Yes, but I explained the physical impossibility of it and rejected it. I have been asking him to try again with a plausible explanation ever since. Curious where his creativity would lead him next, if that's even possible.

    10. Sou: I've also been wondering at exactly what temperature Swedan would proclaim that an object is no longer cold.

    11. CC, Nabil wrote: "So based on your theories, heat is a relative term..." so he clearly has a notion that something is either hot or cold and that is an absolute state. There is no relativity. An object is not warmer or cooler than another object, it simply has a state of "hot" or "cold".

      In his mind, if an object is "hot" it can send some of its heat to a "cold" object but it only goes one way. A "cold" object cannot heat an even colder object because it isn't "hot", it's "cold". There is no in-between.

      That is, if there were three objects, a hot object, a warm object and a cold object, the hot object would heat the cold object but the warm object wouldn't do anything. It wouldn't get warmer even if it were very close to the hot object, because the hot object has decided to heat the cold object. It ignores the warm object. And the warm object knows that it isn't supposed to heat the cold object because it's not hot, and only hot objects radiate heat. And the warm object knows that it cannot accept any heat from the hot object, because the hot object has said that it will only send heat to the cold object. (All objects are sentient, with ESP.)

      As for what temperature Nabil thinks is the cutoff for "hot" and "cold" I don't have a clue. He does think that an object is "cold" if it is below the freezing point of water. Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.

      He must have a really hard time preparing meals :).

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Infrared thermometer is a non contact instrument. The sensitive device can be warmer or colder than a set point depending on how much radiation is exchanged. If it is pointed to a cold object, it will cool because it radiates heat to the colder object. Its final equilibrium temperature is the net between incoming radiation minus outgoing radiations to the device. Based on the temperature value, calibration is set. The calibration can be radiation, temperature, volts, amperes, etc. But there is no such a thing as harvested radiation such as in a solar oven. We therefore cannot talk of physical radiation measured by infrared thermometer. We only can talk about proxies such as voltage, amperes, temperature, etc. This does not mean radiation flows from a cold object to a warm object.

    If you point a solar oven to a hot object, rest assured you will harvest radiation. However, you will never harvest any radiation if you point the solar oven to a cold object. If you point a solar oven to the clear sky at night, you will make ice and they are sold on the market to make ice this way. Based on your theory, the solar oven pointed at night to the sky will harvest heat of 330 watts per square meter, this however does not happen. Therefore, no 330 watts per square meter of backradiation exists.

    Solar oven that make ice are sold on the market. Why don’t you buy one and see for yourself? You can make ice at night, refrigerate vegetables, make cold water, etc.

    Here are sample links:

    It is your turn now to show me a link where 330 watts per square meter of Infrared radiation is harvested at night. Show me one, just one, forget about thermometers. We need actual backradiation harvesting.

    1. Swedan: "Infrared thermometer is a non contact instrument. The sensitive device can be warmer or colder than a set point depending on how much radiation is exchanged. If it is pointed to a cold object, it will cool because it radiates heat to the colder object. Its final equilibrium temperature is the net between incoming radiation minus outgoing radiations to the device."

      You just keep repeating the same garbage. The infrared thermometer reads the temperature of the colder object almost instantaneously. It would take hours for them tor reach equilibrium. Seriously, you are clueless. The rest of your post is nonsensical gibberish most unbecoming of one with an engineering education.

    2. Swedan: "If you point a solar oven to a hot object, rest assured you will harvest radiation. However, you will never harvest any radiation if you point the solar oven to a cold object. If you point a solar oven to the clear sky at night, you will make ice and they are sold on the market to make ice this way."

      You ignore that in the case of your solar heater or chiller that the results are the net effect of the radiant heat transfer per the Stefan-Boltzmann Law. In the sunlight, the net exchange is positive for the solar oven. At night, once again, it is the net exchange of radiation. The radiation heat exchange to the almost absolute zero of space is far greater than back-radiation received by the device, hence the net effect is cooling.

      Why does it cool far more rapidly at night in the desert? Because there is less humidity in the sky and hence in less back radiation.

    3. Swedan is engaging in Argument by Assertion:

      "...the logical fallacy where someone tries to argue a point by merely asserting that it is true, regardless of contradiction.
      An inability to provide anything other than an argument by assertion may be the result of brainwashing, basing ones belief on blind faith or ignorance as to what forms a proper argument. Those who argue by assertion often do think that they're making a real argument. They might simply not realize where they haven't provided a full argument. The point of constructive debate or discourse is to draw attention to this sort of thing, and for people to further develop and evolve their arguments in response. A truly fallacious argument by assertion is when someone continues to assert without advancing their argument, even after it has been pointed out."

      Over and over and over...

    4. Nabil Swedan - There are no dead threads on blogs with a "Recent Comments" list; you simply aren't going to get the 'last word' on the topic by posting after everyone has gone elsewhere.

      Which means that your 2nd Law nonsense simply will not pass without correction.

  31. Swedan: "It is your turn now to show me a link where 330 watts per square meter of Infrared radiation is harvested at night. Show me one, just one, forget about thermometers. We need actual backradiation harvesting"

    Yeah, forget about thermometers since you cannot give a plausible explanation as to how an infrared thermometer works without receiving radiation from a colder object.

    And as for measurements of back-radiation. As stated to you many times in the past with references, hundreds if not thousands of researchers have measured back-radiation during the day and during the night at various latitudes and at various times of the year. You just chose to deny that this is possible.

    One of many textbook showing the results of measurements of back-radiation at night:

    Robinson, Peter and Henderson-Sellers, Ann: “Contemporary Climatology” (1999)

    But, no matter, Swedan will continue to post nonsensical gibberish and claim he is smarter than the thousands of scientists that have worked in this area for hundreds of years.

    1. @CCH: Thanks for your patience with this cretin. He goes away for a week or two and seems to think he'll pop back here and not be challenged on a dead thread. I'm sure he'd love to have the last word for all his like-minded friends to see.

      But to save us the trouble watching this, it's time that Sou sent him full time to the HotWhoppery.

    2. Do you think Swedan might explain how these thermal imaging cameras detect ice

    3. Interesting that Swedan uses night-time back-radiation for his example when the actual fact is nights are warming faster than daytime due to the slowed night-time cooling caused by the increased levels of CO2. This is a very important “fingerprint” of global warming and is irrefutable empirical evidence confirming it to be true.




      Swedan just rehashes his same old arguments over and over again even though they have been thoroughly refuted, over and over again.

      1. The greenhouse effect does not violate the second law of thermodynamics. Swedan has provided no plausible explanation as to why it would nor any evidence of that point.

      2. Regardless of Swedan’s baseless claims, back-radiation exists and has been measured countless times. The equipment is quite capable for the task.

      3. An infra-red thermometer would not work without radiation from a colder object. Swedan only offers nonsensical explanations as to how he believes infra-red thermometers work with no supporting evidence.

      4. A warm object radiating onto a colder object cannot overpower the colder object and prevent it from radiating. The equations for calculating radiative heat transfer would not work if this were the case. Again, Swedan has provided no evidence for his silly claim, nor has he provided any viable explanation as to how the physics of such a phenomena would work.

      Swedan is a complete fraud.

  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  33. For those interested, Hansen has now replied to the Swedan comments on the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics interactive review discussion of his new paper. He was respectful in his response, but did point out “the fundamentals of atmospheric radiation have been understood for centuries.” Several excellent references are provided that are well worth a read, especially for Swedan, although I doubt he will make the effort to do so.

    Hansen response is found here:



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